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How to Turn Your Weakness into Strength

By Ehsan Honary - Saturday, December 15, 2007
:: 1 Comments :: Article Rating :: Psychology, Tactic, Strategy, Beginners
 

While playing Risk with random initial positions, sometimes you may find yourself all over the place owning a country in just about every continent! You blame your luck and wonder how other players managed to get half of some continents already and seem to be way ahead of you.

Consider the following configuration. You are playing as Red and you are indeed scattered everywhere. Is there anything you can do to get out of this dilemma? How can you turn your weakness into strength?

 

Total Diplomacy Risk Map: ScatteredRedOnMap_1
Risk Map: ScatteredRedOnMap_1 --- Open Copy in Risk Map Editor

 

In this case, not knowing what to do is actually an advantage. Since it is not easy for you to see what you can do, it is also difficult for other players to see what you are going to do. This is something you can exploit. It turns out that you can use your scattered armies to play a deceptive game. You can concentrate your armies in your current positions until you have enough strength to make your move in one turn and conquer your ideal continent. You want to delay your big move as much as possible. That way, others won’t be able to stop you, or interrupt your plan because they won’t know what you want to do.

Total Diplomacy Risk Map: ScatteredRedOnMap_2
Risk Map: ScatteredRedOnMap_2 --- Open Copy in Risk Map Editor

 

Playing as Red, you get the following options:

  • Go for Australia. You already have some armies there, but you will need to bring many of your armies from Asia and Europe. The other problem is that Black will most probably be interested in Australia as well and you may end up with a corrosive war which you desperately want to avoid in the early stages of the game.
  • Concentrate in North America. Again you have similar issues, since you need to migrate most of your armies there with a huge cost. Unfortunately, the armies stuck in Australia will be left there doing nothing. Besides, Yellow seems to be very interested in North America as well. You will have another challenge to overcome.
  • Africa and South America seem to be the worst choices for you since you have no armies there at all. You might as well start from somewhere that is a bit easier where you have some armies.

This leaves Europe. Europe is literally in the middle of the world and has access to many places. Your deceptive strategy is ideal for getting Europe. However, you don’t want to give your position away too soon. You start by fortifying your position outside Europe. This makes other players afraid and forces them to play defensively in their own continent against you. As a result they will leave Europe alone because they are too busy building up their forces, so they can at least secure their own continents. Little they know that you are actually not interested in their continent, but it is Europe that you want.

Total Diplomacy Risk Map: ScatteredRedOnMap_3
Risk Map: ScatteredRedOnMap_3 --- Open Copy in Risk Map Editor

 

After a few short turns, you feel confident enough to suddenly turn towards your goal and start the march to your future continent.

 

Total Diplomacy Risk Map: ScatteredRedOnMap_4
Risk Map: ScatteredRedOnMap_4 --- Open Copy in Risk Map Editor

 

Eventually you conquer Europe and secure its borders. You have turned yourself from being a continent-less rouge player to a well-established contestant aiming to conquer the globe. In your current position, you have little resistance since others still need to secure their continents. Besides, in the process you didn’t manage to annoy anyone. Quite the opposite! They were relieved as soon as you decided to leave, since it made it easier for them to get their continent. Later on, you can still approach them for any treaties if it was necessary.

The moral of the story is that you should never lose hope and no matter how bad your initial luck, you can always turn it around and take advantage of your other strength and potential luck. The trick is to find your advantage and that can only be achieved if you don’t get carried away by your bad luck and instead concentrate on the future. You never know what lies ahead and it’s always possible to turn it all around and emerge as a world power, literally! Forget the past; it’s the future that matters.





 

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Comments

just_gabe By just_gabe @ Thursday, May 15, 2014 5:58 AM
I think another acceptable strategy, although more predictable, would be to concentrate your asian forces in China and India, since it's likely that gray and yellow will battle to control Oceania, also if yellow or gray engage aganist you they'll get weaker for a counter attack since you have more forces near the area and blue will most likely get out of the way to go for Africa. Besides, yellow will most probably have an interest in south america than oceania, and unless he quickly conquers SA he poses no threat at all, so it would be you aganist gray.
Sure the cost is higher, but you're not that dependant on the other players to fight over Europe and wear down. Besides, from past experience I've found Europe really hard to maintain from other player's attacks due to the numerous borders and the limitations you have during the first turns, even with the help of cards.
That's just me thou.

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How to Turn Your Weakness into Strength
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